More than 500 adults flourish as modern apprentices - Eden helps people to cultivate a range of skills

As a result of the latest intake of trainees employed by the Eden Project, the number of adults training as Modern Apprentices in Cornwall has soared to more than 500. They are working and training under the Modern Apprenticeships for All programme, which gives adults in Cornwall the opportunity to learn a wide range of work-based skills.

At Eden, for example, which currently employs 540 permanent staff, 40 people are training on the programme across a very broad spectrum of occupations, including catering, housekeeping, administration, retail, stewards, guides, car park attendants, security guards, landscape gardeners, maintenance and signage workers.

The Modern Apprenticeships for All initiative is funded (£1.6 million) under Objective One, and managed by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) Devon and Cornwall.

The programme extends the benefits of Modern Apprenticeships for young people – funding for work-based training leading to recognised qualifications – to adults aged over 25 years. It allows companies to develop their workforce skills in line with business needs, while working adults gain the opportunity to train and achieve work-based qualifications.

The Eden Project, renowned as the world’s largest greenhouse and a new scientific institution, is an all weather international visitor destination aligned to the horticulture, tourism and leisure industries, with a strong emphasis on education. It attracts 12,000 visitors per day in summer, and about 3,500 daily before the season starts.

Eden’s training co-ordinator Dave Phillips said: “Our aim is to train people to be multi-skilled so that staff can be re-deployed to other areas of the business when necessary. This means staff are able to develop a number of skills, and it gives the business flexibility to adapt to changing conditions such as seasonal changes.

“Training is geared to people achieving NVQ level 2 in various work-based skills, and courses have been developed to suit our specific needs. Subjects include basic food hygiene, Welcome Host customer care, horticulture, IT, marketing, languages, retail, and fork lift truck courses.

“We have also developed a separate course on disability awareness, enabling staff to understand the special needs of visitors with mobility, sight, hearing or other disabilities.

“Feedback shows that training pays enormous dividends in terms of developing staff skills and teamwork. As a result, Eden has won the reputation for happy, cheerful and professional staff.”

Mark Williams, LSC head of operations said: “We are delighted that so many individuals and employers have recognised the value of work-based training provided by the Modern Apprenticeships for All programme – 500 people training on this programme is a significant achievement.

“Early on in the creation of Eden we recognised that in many cases the traditional learning provision was insufficient to meet the organisation’s particular needs. As a result, we encouraged Cornwall College to develop a range of bespoke training packages for Eden.”

“When we knew the range of skills and qualifications required by Eden, we investigated ways of funding the training and, by adopting a flexible approach to the situation, we were able to satisfy the organisation’s training needs.

“The success of this venture is due to the commitment, enthusiasm and responsiveness of Cornwall College and the Eden Project.”

The LSC continues to meet with Eden and Cornwall College to monitor progress and identify any further potential development opportunities. The successful growth of Eden is such that it expects to carry out another intensive selection process to sign-up another 100 people for training this winter.

The majority of the training is geared to trainees achieving the EDEXCEL certificate in Tourist Attraction Operations, designed by Cornwall College for Eden.

For further details about the Modern Apprenticeships for All programme, phone the Learning and Skills Council Devon and Cornwall on 01752 754170, e-mail at ma4all@lsc.gov.uk, or visit the website at www.lscdevonandcornwall.org.


Editors notes:

Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel:01872 241379
Fax:01872 241388